Start Your Day with What Makes You Happy — I start most days (when not in quarantine) with a meeting with a person that inspires me or a meeting that I’m really excited about. It’s the best way to begin your day on a positive note.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Krupa — founder of The Goods Mart.
In 2018, Rachel opened The Goods Mart in NYC, a socially conscious convenience store. The Goods Mart has curated mission-driven upgrades to standard store staples that are not only delicious but also better-for-you and the environment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Oh, where to start! I’ve been living and breathing PR for over 18 years in New York. I remember when we had to fax press releases to news desks and look up contacts in the Bacon Books, the sacred book for the PR world. My focus was nightclubs and celebrity driven events. I moved to Los Angeles 13 years ago to launch an East Coast based PR agency, and 10 years ago, I launched Krupa Consulting, where we focus on food and wellness brands. We’ve been fortunate to launch brands such as Thrive Market, Tastemade, goop Wellness, and WTHN, and work with Purely Elizabeth, Alo Moves, Sustain, Forager Project, Our Place, as well as Milk Bar on the west coast. From what I learned through our amazing food brands is a deep passion to make better food more accessible. I most recently launched The Goods Mart, a better-or-you, socially conscious convenience store
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Honestly the past 70+ days have been the most interesting time in my career. I didn’t know how long quarantine would be; I didn’t know if my business would survive, or if I would be the next victim to COVID.
Since we were all taking safe shelter, we were finally still and listening; we were ALL present to see the injustice and the inequality in our country. We saw a black man, George Floyd, suffocate before our eyes. We were not too busy to SEE it, to FEEL it. We had no excuses. Before THIS moment in history, we have all felt like nothing was in our control, but NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE CONTROL, to right wrongs, and create a new paradigm to move back into our society with to make a change.
This past weekend, The Goods Mart was looted. While the aftermath was tough, I feel optimistic about change and feel more supported than ever. Change is needed, and now is that time. I’m lucky I have insurance so that we will be okay. We only lost products & windows, which can be replaced. I’m not mad nor upset, but I’m sad that this what it takes to open our eyes. They say it takes a village, and I couldn’t agree more, but it also takes a community, a city, a state, and a country — a unified field to effect change.
While during COVID we made weekly snack box drops to local hospitals (Elmhurst, Montefiore, Metropolitan Hospital, Mount Sinai UES & Nassau, Woodhull Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and NYU Langone, and food donations to the Food Bank For New York, as well as raised funds for the Restaurant Worker’s Relief Foundation). I am now asking myself, HOW CAN WE DO MORE? — for everyone that is suffering!
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I actually don’t like the word mistake because a mistake implies it’s a negative, but our “mistakes are our biggest opportunity for growth.”
I’ve made many and continue to do so. A few: Not asking for help, feeling as those I was weak by asking for assistance — not having the confidence to say no when I know that’s the best response because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings — and not only checking references, but going beyond those listed.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The old saying, it takes a village, is so true! My friends: who run companies (Shawn, Ali, Brad, Kelly) gave me the advice that none of us know what we’re doing, but it’s either going to work OR not, either way, you will learn from it. My family: for believing me in when I had the crazy ideas to start not one, but two companies. And most importantly, the team that uplifts me daily. If it were not for our amazing team at Krupa Consulting, I would have never been able to open The Goods Mart.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
At The Goods Mart, we are building a community, making better food more accessible, and creating a store that thinks about its impact on the world and environment. When we forge small, local communities, we are better — our physical, emotional, and mental health is better. It’s important to know our neighbors, those who work on our block, those we pass by each day. Coffee is a great way to unite people. So many of our customers have gotten to know one another and us as they stop in for a simple cup of Joe. In the age of virtual shopping, the cornerstones of our neighborhoods and communities are being lost. We’re lighting up the block again.
At Krupa Consulting, we focus on food and wellness brands with founders that have a purpose and passion to do more for the world! We’re fortunate to help these brands grow to be household names. We’re helping to grow the missions and reach of those who observe humane practices, earth-friendly practices, mindful growth practices, and more. Our health and wellness are derived from so many other spaces than our own body. We are microcosms of the larger whole. We need to care for all aspects of our food system and those who are creating it — from the growers and suppliers to the workers and consumers. We are all connected. We’re fostering more meaningful, more nourishing connections through our clients’ amazing work!
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Remember that it’s the small things that add up:
- Walk Around — During calls, get out of the office and walk around the halls, outside — move your body to jumpstart your creativity.
- Multi-Task Work/ Personal Improvement — My days tend to run late, so the last 30 minutes of my emails, I begin to start practicing stretching or yoga. Nothing like doing pigeon and cranking out the emails.
- Start Your Day with What Makes You Happy — I start most days (when not in quarantine) with a meeting with a person that inspires me or a meeting that I’m really excited about. It’s the best way to begin your day on a positive note.
- Breathe — When you’re feeling stressed or you feel your mind is racing — TAKE A DEEP BREATH, pause and re-center yourself.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
A smile movement… when you walk by someone on the street, look them in the eyes, smile, and say HELLO. A simple smile can change anyone’s day and turn it around; it’s something we all can do; it’s free, and it elevates our mental health.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- It will be a bumpy ride but remember each moment and put your arms up and enjoy the ride.
- Schedule time for yourself like you schedule meetings — you must be your best to give your best
- Ask Questions!
- Watch for body language cues — when you’re in any meeting — internal or external — listen to what the other participates are saying, but also watch their non-verbal cues — do they feel comfortable, are they nervous, do they agree with what you’re saying, are you talking too much and they are losing interest — if you can pick up on someone’s body language, you can really change the energy of a meeting.
- Have FUN — You’re running your own business, you’re the boss — appreciate what you have built, celebrate the small wins and recognize the time and energy you put into it. As founders, we’re so critical of ourselves, but take some time to stop, pause, and admire what you’re doing.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All of them, but what is dearest to me is improving our food system. We’re at a critical point: we need to improve our soil so we can continue to grow crops. Of the roughly seven billion people in the world, an estimated 870 million suffer from hunger. We are throwing away food when we have millions who don’t have enough calorie-dense, real food to eat. We are churning out food filled with empty calories and selling organic at a premium, when organic should be the norm. Standard growing practices are ruining our soil, which is damaging our environment. Farmers are no longer able to farm the way they intuitively know how to since it’s all about growing more, faster, which is why the virtue of the small farmer (the backbone of America) is at risk. We need to trust and support the incredible humans who want to grow our food that we are so lucky to eat. Our food system needs to change because all of these topics are intertwined.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Instagram — @rachkrupa and @thegoodsmart
Thank you for these fantastic insights!